Summer Study Program – Open Minds and Helping Hands

In July, Andrew and Janice joined our summer study program ,for a month of experiential education and hands-on volunteering. The conservation-themed program included organic gardening in Ban Talae Nok, planting mangrove trees, helping control riverbank erosion, and helping with seagrass and turtle conservation at Ban Lion. Andrew and Janice have now returned to the University of California at Los Angeles, where they are sharing the knowledge and experience gained during their time with Andaman Discoveries. Thanks to them both for their enthusiasm and excellent community service.

Janice’s blog: ” … We had dinner inside. Then I “showered” by scooping water over myself from a large basin of water to freshen up before bed. This is a little tricky when you are not used to it and takes practice. One more activity was planned for the evening. Rai dressed Andrew and I both in traditional Muslim attire. We learned that prayers are held five times a day, though not always at the mosque. We learned a greeting or way to say blessings upon you that uses words and hand motions. There is no alcohol in the village and no pork/pigs or dogs. However, there are a lot of caged birds, cats, chickens, ducks, geese, goats, cows, and buffalo…” read more on jrowland.blogspot

Andrew’s blog : Part of my last week in Thailand was spent at a Buddhist temple. It was an enjoyable, while also an intense experience…mostly because I helped make a roof structure to shelter a group of students who would be studying at the temple for the weekend. We were able to listen to the monks speak to us and the students, and they discussed the importance of community and love in the world. Using a powerpoint presentation (the monks are surprisingly adept with technology, each having his own laptop and a digital camera to take pictures which are later uploaded on their website), they also talked about not getting distracted in life. In an age with beauty products, rock concerts, and advertisements telling us how to think and live, it can be difficult to understand what is really important. We need to stay focused, pursuing the things that we ourselves know is meaningful. We shouldn’t feel as though we have to follow the grain of others. This is our life and we must live it as we see fit. I also realized, though, that I could never be a Buddhist monk. For one thing, they can only eat twice a day and never after 12pm. In other words, they have a really early breakfast at around 5 and then lunch at 11. After that — nothing. In other words, I would die… read more on